Reviewby Mike Crandol, Aug 4th 2004
Neon Genesis Evangelion
DVD 1: Platinum Edition
The Neon Genesis Evangelion saga is back, loaded with new bonus features and featuring an all-new digital makeover for optimum picture and sound quality. In the year 2015, young Shinji Ikari joins his father's secret organization, NERV, to combat the giant enigmatic entities known as the Angels. With the help of his beautiful superior Misato Katsuragi, Shinji must learn to overcome his own fears and doubts before he can hope to save the rest of humanity from total oblivion.
Yes Eva fans, you have to buy the whole series over again. However, take some solace in the fact that - this time – you will have in your possession the absolute definitive Neon Genesis Evangelion collection.
ADV's Platinum releases will mark the third time I myself have purchased the whole series, and it's the fourth time I've purchased certain episodes (the original Eva Vol. 1 was released sans overlays, and Vols. 7 & 8 were reissued with the Director's Cut episodes included). When ADV first announced it would be releasing GAINAX's digitally remastered prints, my initial reaction was somewhat less than enthusiastic. After all, how many times did ADV think it could empty my pockets with the same material? I had already bought their 13 Eva VHS volumes, then sold them at a considerable loss so I could upgrade to DVD.
But the prospect of enhanced video and sound on what is unquestionably my all-time favorite anime series was enticing to say the least. Let's face it, the first DVD release of the series featured downright piss-poor picture quality. The colors were faded and washed-out, and then there was the infamous “Evangelion Jitter.” Every time the camera cut to a different shot, the entire scene jerked slightly from side to side. The effect was hardly noticeable on VHS, but DVD brought this tiny defect into sharp focus. It was greatly frustrating that other favorite series like Cowboy Bebop and Tenchi Muyo! looked so pristine on my TV screen while the mother of them all, Evangelion, looked so drab.
So it was with mixed feelings that I picked up Neon Genesis Evangelion “Volume 1” for the fourth time. 30 seconds after popping the disc into my player, all of my doubts had flown out the window.
We've all seen Evangelion before, many of us several times over. But I'm here to tell you that – unless you've lived in Japan – you've never seen it. Not like this. From the moment when “Cruel Angel's Thesis” begins to play, the show explodes to bright, vivid new life. The colors fairly leap right off of the screen, and suddenly Evangelion looks as fresh and as new as the latest digitally-painted animé series. And that nasty jitter effect? Completely gone. Wrap it all up in brand-new 5.1 surround sound and you have the ultimate Eva viewing experience.
There have been a few slight adjustments made to the English dub. The original actors have returned to re-record the odd line here and there, presumably to bring the script a little closer to the original Japanese intent. But rest assured; ADV did not give Eva the George Lucas Special Edition treatment, and 95% of the original dub remains intact. As far as the new lines are concerned, the effect is seamless, and only hardcore Eva dub fans will even notice. The “Next Episode” previews have been completely redone by Allison Keith (Misato), however, but they restore the original music to the sequences, and the update is more than welcome.
Even the peripherals have improved a thousand fold. Remember that boring-looking, flimsy black box that housed the original DVD set? Now you can throw it out in favor of this nice and shiny sturdy box that features gorgeous new artwork of all our favorite Eva heroes and heroines. The individual volumes look to feature similarly impressive cast portraits. But best of all may the NERV parking decal included for your car – a slice of pure geek heaven.
The years immediately following the creation of Neon Genesis Evangelion saw the show at the center of an immense controversy in the fan community. Two factions seemed to be forever battling over whether or not Eva was the greatest anime series ever, or just the most overrated. With the passage of time it is possible to look at the series in a more objective light, and it holds up very well indeed. It is a flawed work to be sure, but its breadth of achievement is staggering and its artistic impact undeniable. It no longer seems contrite to say that Evangelion is surely one of the all-time great works of animation.
In Japan this new DVD release was known as “Renewal of Evangelion” (the title had to be changed for the American release because ADV does not have the rights to the Eva theatrical movies included in the Japanese set). “Renewal” may sound a bit pretentious, but it's a more than fitting title. Evangelion has truly been reborn in a way most of us have never seen before. Don't feel bad if you're buying this series over again for the umpteenth time. Eva Platinum is worth every penny.
Overall (dub) : A+
Overall (sub) : A+
Story : A
Animation : B+
Art : A+
Music : A
+ finally! Evangelion the way it was meant to be seen
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